5 Ways Matching Gifts Can Turn Donors into Major Gift Donors | npENGAGE

5 Ways Matching Gifts Can Turn Donors into Major Gift Donors

By on Mar 21, 2018


As a nonprofit professional, you’re well aware of all the fundraising benefits of corporate matching gifts. But what you know may not know is that promoting matching gifts can also help cultivate donors into major donors.

If you’ve honed your matching gift promotion strategy and are looking for additional ways to maximize your fundraising potential, follow along as we list 5 ways matching gifts can help you retain supporters and steward them into major donors:

  1. Matching gift maximums can encourage donors to give more.
  2. Reaching out to donors about matching gifts establishes trust.  
  3. Nonprofits can connect with donors without asking for another gift.
  4. Learning about a donor’s employer can lead to better donor profiles.
  5. Donors become more knowledgeable about other corporate giving opportunities.

While these matching gift strategies are geared toward stewarding major donors, they can be used to encourage more participation in corporate philanthropy programs.

If you’re interested in learning more about promoting matching gifts, we’ve written a previous post on steps to boost matching gift revenue in the new year.

Now, let’s jump into the ways matching gifts can cultivate major donors!

1. Matching gift maximums can encourage donors to give more.

Knowing that your donations can be doubled can be a powerful motivator. Think about it: if you knew that your employer was going to double, and potentially triple, the amount you gave, wouldn’t you feel inspired to give more?

For example, according to 360MatchPro, Home Depot matches donations as low as $25 and as high as $3,000.

Knowing this information might encourage Home Depot employees to give at the higher end of their matching gift limit.

If Jane Doe is motivated to give $250 on a regular basis because of Home Depot’s matching gift maximums, she’s actually contributing $500 to your organization. So even if a donor isn’t able to give a major donation, through matching gifts their donations could be doubled to equal a significant or major donation.

That’s why it’s so important for organizations to promote matching gifts during the donation process. Showing donors the maximum donations matched by their companies inspired them to increase their gift to get the most out of their employer’s program.

Using the following techniques, you can inform donors about their employer’s matching gift program details:

  • Include information about matching gifts on your “Ways to Give” page. Your website is the most likely place prospective donors will go to learn more about your organization and how they can contribute. Promoting matched giving early puts matching gifts in the forefront of your donors’ minds when they’re ready to give.
  • Embed a matching gift search tool on your donation forms. Large matching gift databases, like Double the Donation’s, often offer tools that simplify the search process for donors so they can instantly know about their employer’s program during the donation process.

Letting donors know about matching gifts before they give can affect how much they donate to your organization. And the more they’re willing to give to your cause, the better chance you have of turning them into major donors in the future.

2. Reaching donors about matching gifts establishes trust.

When your organization asks for donations, you’re meticulous about letting donors know how the money is going to be used — and with good reason! Being transparent in your solicitation letters establishes trust by showing donors, you’ll spend their money responsibly, and the same can be said about matching gifts.

When you tell donors that their gifts can be doubled, it shows that you’re looking into every possible outlet to raise money for your cause.

That way, when you ask them for another donation, they know you’ve exhausted every other method before asking for another gift.

Additionally, it shows donors that you care about their contributions so much you’re willing to show them ways they can make their contributions go further. Instead of just asking for more money, you’re looking for easy ways donors can support your cause.

By promoting matching gifts in your newsletters, thank-you letters, and donation forms, you let donors know that you’re not just after their money. Simply submitting a matching gift request for a donation they’ve already given is enough to continue supporting your nonprofit.

Once donors trust your organization and the ways you manage their funds, they’re more likely to give more to your organization over time, which could lead them to become major donors.

3. Nonprofits can connect with donors without asking for another gift.

We all know the cardinal rule: never ask for another donation in your acknowledgement letters. If you want to connect with a donor, fundraising experts recommend inviting donors to an event or asking them to volunteer.

But for some donors attending an event or volunteering might be too much of a commitment, especially if the donor is giving for the first time and still doesn’t know much about your organization.

Alternatively, you could send them information about matching gifts. Submitting a matching gift request is a less time-intensive engagement, and it gives you plenty of opportunities to send them more communications.

For instance, in addition to the initial email informing them about matching gifts, you can send donors:

  • Information about their employer’s specific corporate philanthropy programs.
  • A notification once the organization has received word of your request.
  • A thank-you letter once the company has sent the matching gift.
  • Details about how their donation was used.

Sending information about how you intend to use their gift can lead to more communications about your nonprofit’s mission and other ways to get involved.

Taking this approach and starting off with a simple matching gift request can help you develop relationships with donors at their own pace.

4. Learning about a donor’s employer can lead to better donor profiles.

In addition to just gaining an extra donation, learning more about your supporters place of employment can enhance your donor profiles and lead to better prospect research.

Now that you know where your donors work, you can segment donors by their employers in your CRM, allowing you to send them more relevant information.

For instance, if you know that a donor works for a company with a generous volunteer grant program, promoting volunteer opportunities can help you both raise more money and engage with that donor.

Not to mention, the donors that tend to get their gifts matched are more philanthropically minded, which means they might be more willing to participate in a peer-to-peer fundraising event, advocate for your cause on social media, or fill out feedback surveys.

Once your donors have invested more time into your organization, they could be cultivated into major donors.  

Knowing where your donors work can also help you discover other relationships. For example, even if the Apple employee that submitted a matching gift request isn’t financially situated to become a major donor, that doesn’t mean they don’t have connections at Apple that could.

Once you know where donors work, you can use that information to open the donor to other connections with influential people in their business, including potential major donors.

5. Donors become more knowledgeable about other corporate giving opportunities.

The last way matching gifts can steward donors into major gifts is by opening supporters up to other giving opportunities.

Once your donors know about matching gifts, they’ll be more susceptible to learning about other corporate giving programs, like volunteer grants and fundraising matches.

Donors that are more invested in these programs develop relationships with your organization that could lead to larger donations.

Imagine that Jane Doe contributes to your organization and submits a matching gift request because she received a message from your nonprofit about her company’s matched giving program. Knowing that she’s able to double her donations, she might look into other ways her employer supports your organization.

As a result, she might discover that her corporation provides fundraising matches for peer-to-peer fundraising campaigns. This could help motivate her to participate in your organization’s next 5K run.

As you can see, corporate philanthropy programs can encourage donors to get more involved in your organization because they’ll get more support for their efforts.

As donors continue to support your cause — while making use of corporate philanthropy programs — they’ll become more invested in your mission. After all, supporters that are truly passionate about your cause are more like to give regularly and in increasingly higher amounts.

When you see that a donor is taking advantage of their employer’s corporate giving programs to support your cause, it might be the perfect opportunity to connect them with your major gift officer.  next-level ways they can contribute.

Visit Double the Donation’s guide to major gifts for more ways to cultivate major donors with matching gift programs.

Hopefully, this article has helped you discover that matching gifts can provide more than just double the donations.

By promoting matching gift programs, you can cultivate donors, provide them with more ways to get involved in your organization, and, ultimately, steward them into major donors.


Adam Weinger is one of the leading experts on corporate giving programs.

He’s the President of Double the Donation, the leading provider of tools to nonprofits to help them raise more money from corporate matching gift and volunteer grant programs. Double the Donation’s robust solution, 360MatchPro, provides nonprofits with automated tools to identify match-eligible donors, drive matches to completion, and gain actionable insights. 360MatchPro integrates directly into donation forms, CRMs, social fundraising software, and other nonprofit technology solutions to capture employment information and follow up appropriately with donors about matching gifts

Adam is a frequent contributor to many leading nonprofit magazines and blogs, including NonprofitPro, GuideStarNonprofit Marketing Guide, Top Nonprofits, Nonprofit.About.com and of course, Double the Donation’s blog.

Organizations looking to learn more about employee matching gift and volunteer grant programs should check out the resources the company provides which include lists of the top matching gift and volunteer grant companies.

Have questions for Adam Weinger or Double the Donation? Email Adam or connect with Double the Donation on Twitter or LinkedIn.

Comments (1)

  • Ask Again says:

    I had to discount the article when I read there was a “cardinal rule,” with that rule our organization would be at a million dollar loss annually.

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